When you think of major league baseball, the names of famous legends immediately come to mind. These players overcame obstacles, swung for the fences and never gave up on their dreams. One local boy from a small town is showing these greats some competition, with strength and spirit worthy of the Hall of Fame.
Blake, 10, is battling neurofibromatosis, a life-threatening condition that causes tumors to form on his spine. Blake’s illness forces him to endure tough treatment and frequent doctor’s visits that would keep most in the dugout. However, Blake has not let his condition stop him from being a part of the things he loves, especially baseball.
Blake is a Cincinnati Reds fan through and through, and always dreamed of standing on the diamond at the Great American Ball Park. When wish granters visited Blake and asked what his most heartfelt wish would be, Blake wished to throw out the first pitch for his beloved Cincinnati Reds to his favorite catcher Ryan Hanigan.
Blake and his family headed to the Queen City to make Blake’s dream become a reality.
The excitement began at the Reds pregame batting practice, where Blake and his family got to hang out on the field. Dressed head to toe in Reds gear, Blake and his brother chatted with their favorite players, posed for pictures with the Reds mascots and even got an autograph or two! “The players were very nice and took the time to talk to him," Blake’s dad says of the experience.
Finally, it was time for the game to begin. With his picture stretched across the jumbo screen, Blake took his spot on the pitchers mound, looking just like a pro. As Blake threw out the first pitch to catcher Ryan Hanigan, the crowd went wild! Hanigan gave Blake a high-five, congratulating him on the great throw.
The following day, Blake and his family continued their fun with a post-game trip to the Cincinnati Zoo. They looked at the animals, recapped all the exciting moments from the game, and simply enjoyed their time together.
Blake’s wish experience was a grand slam that will continue to bring joy to him and his family long into the future. Blake’s dad is certain of the wish’s impact on his son, describing it as “A memory that will last a lifetime. The kind you tell your grandkids!”
In an interview with abc9, Blake’s dad expressed his gratitude:
“It means the world to me. Make-A-Wish has made this happen and we can’t thank them enough.”
After experiencing firsthand the hope, strength and joy created by a wish come true, Blake’s family is passionate about helping to share the power of a wish® with others. His dad offers this question: